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Concrete Mix Design with Portland Pozzolana Cements

The Indian standard IS:456-2000 recommends the use of Portland pozzolana cement (blended cement) as
well as mineral admixtures for concrete mixes provided that there are satisfactory data on their suitability,
such as performance test on concrete containing them. In the present paper concrete mix design with
blended cement is presented based on relevant latest I.S. codes.

Dr. S. K. Dubey, Professor (structures), Deptt. of Civil Engineering., M.A.N.I.T., Bhopal

Concrete is a widely used structural material consisting essentially of a binder and a mineral filler. It has the unique
distinction of being the only construction material actually manufactured on the site, or in a RMC plant whereas other
materials are merely shaped to use at the worksite.

Concrete has become an indispensable construction material. In the present scenario concrete has crossed the stage
of four component system i.e. cement, water, coarse aggregate and fine aggregate. It can be combination of more
number of ingredients such as fly ash, ground granulated blast furnace slag, silica fume, rice husk ash and
admixtures etc. are generally used in concrete production in practice which depends upon the requirement and the
availability of the expertise.

The fundamental requirement of a concrete mix is that it should be satisfactory both in the fresh as well as in the
hardened state, possessing certain minimum desirable properties like workability, strength and durability. Besides
these requirements it is essential that the concrete mix is prepared as economically as possible by using the least
possible amount of cement content per unit volume of concrete, with due regard to the strength and durability
requirements. Since concrete is produced by mixing several discrete material, the number of variables governing the
choice of mix design are necessarily large. However continuous research work in this field by various investigators,
has helped to identify the major parameters controlling the proportions of ingredients in the mix.
Principle of Mix Design

The basic principle which is generally used for mix design for proportioning mixes is Abram's law for strength
development. According to this law, for any given conditions of test the strength of workable concrete mix is
dependant only on the water-cement ratio. Lesser the water-cement ratio in a workable mix greater will be its
strength. From practical considerations compressive strength is taken as an index of acceptability. Mix proportioning
is normally carried out for a specific characteristic compressive strength requirements ensuring that the mix so
proportioned should satisfy the workability requirements without segregation and bleeding of concrete.
Data For Mix Design
The following data are
required for mix design:

Grade designation

Type of cement

Maximum nominal size of


Minimum cement content

Maximum water-cement ratio


Maximum cement content

Any admixture used

Exposure conditions (as per
IS: 456)

Method of transportation and

placing of concrete
Mix Design Procedure

Target mean strength

Ft = fck + 1.65 S


Ft = Target mean strength at

28 days in N/mm2

fck = Characteristic
compressive strength at 28
days in N/mm2

S = Standard deviation

Selection of water-cement

Table 3: Environmental Exposure Conditions (Clauses 8.2.1

and 35.3.2

SI. No. Environment Exposure Conditions

Concrete surfaces
protected against
weather or
conditions, except
those situated in
coastal area.
i) Mild
Concrete surfaces
sheltered from
severe rain or
freezing whilst wet
Concrete exposed to
condensation and
rain Concrete
continuously under
water Concrete in
contact or buried
under non-
soil/ground water
Concrete surfaces
sheltered from
saturated salt air in
coastal area

ii) Moderate
Concrete surfaces,
exposed to severe
rain, alternate
wetting and drying
or occasional
freezing whilst wet
or severe

Concrete completely
immersed in sea
water Concrete
exposed to coastal
iii) Severe environment
Concrete surfaces
exposed to sea
water spray,
corrosive fumes or
severe freezing
conditions whilst wet
Concrete in contact
with or buried under
aggressive sub-
soil/ground water

iv) Very severe

Surface of members
in tidal zone
Members in direct
contact with
v) Extreme chemicals

This ratio should be selected based upon the relationship between target mean compressive strength of concrete and
Compressive strength of cement. IS: 10262-1982 fig. 2 gives the values of water-cement ratio for various cements.
The water-cement ratio can also be taken from table (5) of IS:456-2000 for particular environmental exposure
conditions as starting point. The supplementary cementitious material that is mineral admixtures shall also be
considered in water-cement ratio calculations.

The above selected water-cement ratio should be checked against limiting watercement ratio for the requirement s
of durability and the lower of the two will be adopted.
Table 5: Minimum Cement Content, Maximum Water-Cement Ratio and Minimum Grade of Concrete for
Different Exposures with Normal Weight Aggregates of 20 mm Nominal Maximum Size
Clauses 6.1.2, and 9.1.2)
Plain Concrete Reinforced Concrete
Maximum Maximum
Free Minimum Free
Water- Minimum Cement Water-
Minimum Cement cement Grade of Content cement
SI. No. Exposure Content kg/m3 Ratio Conrete kg/m3 Ratio
-1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 -7
i) Mild 220 0.6 - 300 0.55

ii) Moderate 240 0.6 M 15 300 0.5

iii) Severe 250 0.5 M 20 320 0.45

iv) Very severe 260 0.45 M 20 340 0.45

v) Extreme 280 0.4 M 25 360 0.4

1. Cement content prescribed in this table is irrespective of the grades of cement and it is inclusive of additions
mentioned in 5.2. The additions such as fly ash or ground granulated blast furnace slag may be taken into account in
the concrete composition with respect to the cement content and water-cement ratio if the suitability is established
and as long as the maximum amounts taken into account do not exceed the limit of pozzolona and slag specified in
IS 1489 (Part 1) and IS 455 respectively.

2. Minimum grade for plain concrete under mild exposure condition is not specified.

Selection of water content

The water content i.e. the quantity of maximum mixing water per unit volume of
Table: Maximum
concrete may be determined from the following table:

water content
per cubic meter
of concrete

maximu Maximum
m size of water
S.No. agg. content

1 10 mm 208 kg

2 20 mm 186 kg
3 40 mm 165 kg

The above table is for angular coarse

aggregates and for 25 to 50mm slump
The water estimates can be reduced by approximately 10 kg for sub-angular aggregates, 20 kg
for gravel with some crushed particles & 25 kg for rounded gravel to produce same workability.

For desired workability (other than 25 to 50mm slump range) the required water content may be
increased by about 3 percent for every additional 25mm slump or alternatively by use of
chemical admixtures.

Water reducing admixtures usually decrease water content by 5 to 10 percent and 20 percent
and above respectively at appropriate dosages.

Cementitious material content

This may be calculated from the free water-cement ratio and the quantity of water per unit volume of concrete. The
cementitious material content so calculated shall be checked for minimum content for the durability requirements
and the greater of the two values adopted. The maximum cement content shall be as per IS: 456-2000.

Proportioning of coarse aggregate content

For a water-cement ratio of 0.5 approximate values of aggregate volume is given in the following table.

Table: Volume of coarse aggregate per unit volume of total Aggregate for different
Zones of Fine Aggregate
S, No.

Nominal Volume of Coarse Aggregate* per unit Volume of

Maximum Size Total Aggregate for Different Zones of Fine
of Aggregate Aggregate
mm Zone IV Zone III Zone II Zone I
1 2 3 4 5 6
i) 10 0.5 0.48 0.46 0.44
ii) 20 0.66 0.64 0.62 0.6
iii) 40 0.75 0.73 0.71 0.69

*Volumes are based on aggregates in saturated surface dry condition.

Adjust volume of coarse aggregate for decrease in w/c ratio by 0.05 the increase in coarse
aggregate by 1%.

For more workable concrete such as pumped concrete etc the above estimated coarse aggregate
content may be reduced by up to 10%.
Determination of Fine Aggregate Content:

This is obtained by finding out the absolute volume of cementitious material; water and the chemical admixture by
dividing their masses to their specific gravity, multiplying by 1/1000 subtract the results of this summation from unit

The above obtained values are distributed into coarse and fine aggregate fractions by volume in accordance with
coarse aggregate fractions.

The coarse and fine aggregates contents are then determined by multiplying with their respective specific gravities
and multiplying by 1000.

Trial Mixes

The trial mixes shall be made and cubes be tested, if any discrepancies may be observed during concrete making it
should be taken into considerations and more trial mixes be prepared and finally the mix which provides sufficient
information, including the relationship between compressive strength, water cement ratio and slump, from which the
mix proportions for field trials may be arrived at. The concrete for field trials shall be produced by methods of actual
concrete production.


Grade of Designation M-25

Type of Cement PPC confirming to Is1489 Part I

Maximum Nominal Size
of Aggregate 20 mm
Minimum Cement
Content 300 kg
Maximum water cement
ratio 0.5

Workability 60 mm slump

Type of Aggregate Crushed Angular aggregate

Maximum Cement
Content 450 kg/m3

Chemical Admixtures Fosroc (as supplied)

Sieve Analysis of Coarse Aggregate
Percentage of Different
Analysis of Coarse Aggregate Fractions Remark
IS sieve No Fraction, % passing s
I II I II ed
30% 70% 100% ming to
20mm 81 100 24.3 70 94.3 2 of
10mm 0.8 47 0.24 32.9 33.14 IS383
4.75mm 0 4.4 0 3.08 3.08
2.36mm - - - - -
IS sieve No passing Remarks

4.75mm 100

2.36mm 98.5 Conforming to

Zone IV Table 4
1.18mm 96 of IS383

600 m 85

300 m 3

150 m 0

Target Mean Strength Ft = fck + 1.65 S


= 31.6 N/mm2

The mix proportions obtained for above materials are:

Water : Cement : Sand : Aggregate = 184.5 lits: 410 kg: 606 kg : 1176 kg

w/c ratio = 0.45, 1 : 1.478 : 2.868

Admixture dose = 0.25 % of weight of cement in terms of volume of admixture.

Cube strength after 7 days = 24.0 N/mm2, 20.88 N/mm2, 22.22 N/mm2

Average Value = 22.36 N/mm2

Cube strength after 28 days = 31.11 N/mm2, 34.66 N/mm2, 31.11 N/mm2
Average Value = 32.29 N/mm2

The concrete mix produced with blended cements (PPC Cement) possesses nearly same quality as of OPC except with
adjustments in water cement ratio as such the heat of hydration of PPC is lower than OPC the cement content
obtained is slightly higher for blended cements. Hence, it is concluded that with proper quality control and
supervision at site, the effectiveness of concrete produced with blended cements will be increased. It will also satisfy
the requirements of workability, strength and durability.


IS:456-2000 (fourth revision)code of practice for plain and reinforced concrete structures, BIS New Delhi

IS:10262-1982, Recommended guideline for conc. mix design, BIS, Feb 1983 , BIS New Delhi.

IS:10262-2009, Concrete mix proportioning Guide lines July, 2009 , BIS New Delhi.

IS:383 1970, Specification for coarse and Fine aggregates from natural sources for concrete BIS New Delhi.

Shetty, M. S., Concrete Technology Theory and Practice, 2005, S Chand & Co. New Delhi.

Roy Sabyasachi, Pumped concrete with admixtures, Civil Engineering & Construction Review, 2004 pp 51-54.

N. Krishnaraju, Design of Concrete Mixes, CBS publishers, Delhi, 1993

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